The CAG Friend of the Gifted is awarded to an educator, school administrator, parent, community member, or professional who has profoundly impacted the lives of gifted children in our state.


2019 Honoree

Former CAG President, board member and volunteer, serving for close to 20 years.  Her nomination focused heavily on her tireless commitment to high-potential children and collaboration with Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders and Bridgeport Public Schools in bringing CAG's signature enrichment event, Minds in Motion™, to the families of Bridgeport, for the past 5 years.


2018 Honorees

 Members of the Connecticut Assembly's Education committee were selected by the CAG Board of Directors. The law PA 17-82 will have great impact in gifted education. 


2017 Honoree

Dr. Little has been on the Gifted education faculty at UConn since 2004. She directed the UConn Mentor Connection program from 2005-2015, served on the CAG Board of Directors and on the National Association for the Gifted (NAGC) Board of Directors, including her current position as Governance Secretary. She has provided Professional Development opportunities in several Connecticut school districts through her association with CAG.


2016 Honoree

An experienced educator and gifted education specialist, Dr. Wentzell has taken proactive interest in issues of gifted and talented programming in our state. Dr. Wentzell met with CAG representatives as an acting Commissioner, and then as Commissioner, expressing her commitment and support for gifted and talented students' programs in all school districts in Connecticut. High ability children in underserved districts are some of the most neglected students in the state. As does CAG, Dr. Wentzell believes that gifted pedagogy can often be implemented with minimal resources by shifting attention to certain best instructional practices shown to benefit all youngsters in the school, while concurrently meeting the needs of high ability students.


2015 Honoree

Dr. Plucker served as Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut, where he taught in the Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership programs. He specializes in talent development, creativity, and research-supported advocacy for gifted learners. Dr. Plucker is well known for his work regarding excellence gaps, the development and assessment of 21st century skills, and creativity. His work defining and studying excellence gaps is part of a larger effort to reorient policymakers' and educators' thinking about how best to promote success and high achievement for all children. He often comments on the plight of gifted learners whose talent goes unrecognized, especially in communities where funds for education are seriously curtailed.


2014 Honoree

CAG is extremely grateful to Harold for his many years of tireless volunteer work on behalf of the needs of students throughout the state. He created a professional and user-friendly event registration system to enable online registration for CAG's Minds in Motion events. Harold has made upgrades and adjustments to the system each year, and he is always responsive at a moment's notice to answer questions or make further adjustments, no matter where in the world he is.


2013 Honoree

Senator Boucher was chosen for this award because of her long dedication to ensuring all Connecticut students achieve their full potential, which started when she was on the Wilton Board of Education.  Senator Boucher is well-respected as an outspoken advocate for education.  As the State Senate Ranking Member of the Education Committee, she fought for appropriate level of instruction for high achieving students, and gave a voice to advocates of personalized education for all students, including high ability and academically advanced students.  She made it possible for many state institutions, including the University of Connecticut and CAG, to speak directly to the members of the Legislature's Education Committees about the urgent need to meet the academic needs of our state's bright students, often left behind for lack of appropriate funding and resources.


2012 Honoree

Del is not only dedicated to making a difference for gifted students nationally,  but he also contributes at the state level here in Connecticut.  He has been an active member of CAG for many years and is always willing to help out whenever his demanding schedule allows.  During the 2011-2012 school year, Del visited the Westport Minds in Motion to deliver the keynote address: "The Bill of Rights for Gifted Children."  He also presented a breakout session at the event on a topic he has been researching for many years, "Understanding and Addressing Student Motivation."


2011 Honoree

In the 2010-2011 school year Dr. Baum was overwhelmingly generous in lending her time and considerable talents to help CAG increase its focus on 2e learners.  Thanks to her efforts, CAG hosted two presentations by Dr. Baum on dual exceptionalities.  Dr. Baum was also instrumental in helping CAG establish a 2e Committee, dedicated to helping parents and teachers meet the needs of our state’s dual-exceptional learners.


2010 Honorees

Due to the vision and determination of Miriam Morales-Taylor, and the strong support of Superintendent Steve Adamowski, Hartford once again has not only a program for gifted and talented students, but it now has a magnet school to serve their needs. To recognize their contributions, the two Hartford administrators were honored as the CAG Friend of the Gifted award recipients for 2010.


2009 Honoree

At the CT State Department of Education, Dr. Purcell oversaw gifted education for seven years. During that time she secured over $17 million in Advanced Placement grant funds for Connecticut and New England and was responsible for developing and conducting statewide professional development for teachers and administrators on curriculum differentiation.

Prior to her work at the State Department of Education, Jeanne was an administrator for Rocky Hill Public Schools, where she was a K-8 curriculum coordinator and conducted a three-year staff development initiative on curriculum differentiation; a program specialist with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, where she worked collaboratively with other researchers on national issues related to the achievement of high-ability young people; and a staff developer to school districts across the country and Canada.


2008 Honorees

Ann and Bill are Directors of the Shoreline Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO). In addition, Ann is Director of the Whiz Kids Orchestra, and Bill leads a similar youth jazz band.

They are master teachers in the truest sense of the word. Every child they work with is challenged to his or her potential. Every child learns to re-evaluate what that level is and to reach for more within themselves. The Clemmons’ mantra is to ”be alive and have fun learning.”

In that regard, they are a good example of how to lead one’s life. They teach the children many life lessons along the way. When SYSO members go to college they cry about leaving the Clemmons’ and the SYSO. This couple understands what kids are capable of achieving and they make them feel good about themselves.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

©2020 by Connecticut Association for the Gifted. Proudly created with